This Week’s Events: Italian Cooking Class, Winter Market, NYE List

Thursday – The Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Baxter Brewing.

Friday – Marco D’Angelo is teaching an Italian cooking class, and there will be a wine tasting at the West End Rosemont.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayTwo Fat Cats is leading a holiday cookie decorating class, Samuel’s is holding a fundraiser for Toys-for-Tots, and Bow Street Beverage is holding their monthly wine seminar.

New Year’s Eve – restaurants have begun announcing their NYE dinner options:

  • Blue Spoon – 4-course dinner with champagne toast, optionan wine pairing $60 per person.
  • Central Provisions – 7-course dinner with pairings, $150 per person. Two seatings at 6 pm and 10 pm.
  • Falmouth Country Club – chef Nick Verdisco is serving a New Year’s Eve dinner, $80 per person.
  • Five Fifty-Five – 4-course dinner for $90 per person, 7-course for $125 per person.
  • Grace – 4-course dinner with bubbles for $85 per person.
  • Isa – 3-course dinner for $65 per person.
  • Lolita – 6-course dinner for $110 per person (tax and tip included).
  • North 43 Bistro – 4-course dinner.
  • Petite Jacqueline –  3-course dinner for $55 per person, 5-course dinner for $75 per person.
  • Piccolo – 5-course dinner for $85 per person.
  • Sur Lie – serving both their standard and a special NYE menu.
  • Terlingua – 5-course dinner and champagne toast for $85 per person.
  • The Honey Paw – is serving a dim sum menu all night.
  • Tiqa – 3-course dinner with champagne for $55 per person with seatings at 5, 7, and 9:30.
  • Vinland – 5-course dinner for $95 with optional pairings for $55; two seatings at 6 and 8:30.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Under Construction: Luke’s Lobster

Today’s Press Herald reports on a 175-seat Luke’s Lobster planned for Portland Pier.

The restaurant at 60 Portland Pier will be the seafood chain’s largest by far, with 175 indoor seats and a patio that seats 25, according to company founder Luke Holden, a native of Cape Elizabeth. The typical Luke’s location seats about 25 patrons.

Holden hopes to have the restaurant open at the start of Summer.

Reviews: Pizzarino, Cong tu Bot, Isa, Mami

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Pizzarino,

Pizzarino, the sister business of Portland’s Paciarino, aims to do just a few dishes and do them well. It succeeds with its wholemeal-crust pizzas, especially when they’re topped with prosciutto or a quadruple-whammy of imported Italian cheeses…But elsewhere, Pizzarino cuts too many corners with its heavy reliance on pre-bought, packaged ingredients imported largely from Italy. There are sticky, under-flavored gnocchi; rubbery mushrooms and metallic-tasting black olives; and most egregious, an entire range of refrigerated and frozen desserts that come ready-to-serve – no added work required. There’s room on the Portland dining scene for a great Milanese restaurant. Here’s hoping Pizzarino ditches the ready-made food and puts in the work to become just that.

the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Mami

Whether or not co-owners Austin Miller and Hana Tamaki realized they would fill a mostly unexplored niche in the Portland dining scene back when their first okonomiyaki came off the truck in 2015 is unclear. Stop into their brick-and-mortar to warm up for a bit on a snowy winter evening, though, and you’ll be hard-pressed to argue that they haven’t.

The Bollard has reviewed Cong Tu Bot, and

On cold, prematurely dark evenings, I suggest the Cà Ri Chay ($16). It’s a velvety coconut curry with subtle spice and long, wide rice noodles perfect for slurping, topped with a few marinated and caramelized mushrooms. Next, cut the richness with the Goi Cai Bap ($8), a salad of cabbage, carrot and onion, soaking in a sweet, vinegary dressing and topped with crunchy fried onions, finely diced bird’s eye chilies, and a tangle of cilantro. Careful with that salad, though. Those little red chilies pack a punch (a bird’s eye chili is ranked about twenty times hotter than a jalapeno on the Scoville heat scale).

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Isa.

Isa has a number of qualities that make it special. They’re incredibly consistent with the food and drink, the menu has plenty on it for all tastes, and the warm, casual atmosphere is brilliantly comfortable. You can be sure when you go, you’ll find a good meal, but most of the time it will be much better than that, often even great. Head to Isa if you haven’t been and definitely consider making it one of your regular stops, because it’s really that good.

45 Years at Mellen Street Market

The Bollard has published a feature article on the Mellen Street Market and the Nappi family which has owned the establishment since 1973.

Tony’s younger brother, Joseph Jr. (Joey), soon joined them, “and the three of us worked together for all these years,” Tony said. (Joe Sr. passed away in 2012.) “It worked out great. We never argued, because my dad was always right!” He laughed. “So we didn’t argue with him. … He went into the Marine Corps at 17, so he’d been around the block. Eighth-grade education. He made it — just hard work, hard work, hard work, hard work. Put the hours in.”

Hush, Hush Redux

In a throwback to their early days launching the Hunt and Alpine Club, Andrew and Briana Volk are holding a series of evening pop-up events called Hush, Hush in the Little Giant Market space on Clark Street.

The late-night bar will be open 9 – 11 pm, one Tuesday a month December through May: December 18th, January 15th, February 12th, March 12th, April 9th and May 7th.

They plan to serve natural wines, beer, tinned fish, caviar, burgers, calamari, disco fries and olives.

Verdisco and Team Hired by FCC

Chef Nick Verdisco and key members of his former Bolster Snow team have all been hired by the Falmouth Country Club.

  • Sarah Miller, Pastry Chef
  • Tyler Dederick, Grill
  • Chris Papp, Sauté

Verdisco will be starting his new position as the Executive Chef of FCC as of January 1, 2019.

The speed with which Verdisco found a new position is an indication of his talent and the tightness of the restaurant labor market in general. It makes me wonder if, as Portland is in the midst of Closing Season, we’re likely to see more teams hired as a group.